Former Ambassador to Israel David Friedman recalled being at odds with the State Department’s traditional Arabist mindset, explaining in a new interview that “Israel never had a home in the State Department.”
Friedman told Breitbart in an interview that many State Department diplomats are “Arabists” who have little understanding of Israel.
“The State Department has historically not been hospitable to the state of Israel or its supporters,” Friedman said.
With Israel lumped into the State Department’s bureau of near eastern affairs with other Middle Eastern countries, many of whom see Israel as an enemy, the Jewish State “finds itself in a bureau in a state department with other countries that historically have been anti-Israel.”
Friedman pointed out that diplomats serve in places like North Africa or Syria, and then after three of four years, they are transferred to Israel.
“They’re all Arabists and they come to Israel and find the environment different from what they’re used to and they don’t really take the time to understand it or appreciate it,” Friedman.
The experience was recounted by Friedman in his memoir, Sledgehammer: How Breaking with the Past Brought Peace to the Middle East, in which he wrote about being told by State Department staffers after revealing he wanted to visit the Western Wall, “Mr. Ambassador, don’t be so Jewish” and “You represent the United States of America. Tone down the Judaism in your work.”
The tension also existed with senior Trump cabinet officials, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, both of whom were against moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, Friedman recalled.
Friedman told Breitbart that the State Department remains stuck in his culture of being antagonistic toward Israel.
“I don’t think Israel ever had a home in the State Department,” he said.